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Spoonerism "Sarah Palin - Parah Salin"


created on by  in Word trivia

…isn’t a 16th-century movement of soup-enthusiasts. Neither is it the name of a 1960s snuggle support group. The term “Spoonerism” refers to William A. Spooner (1844-1930), a British cleric and scholar who is credited with the discovery of the “sound-swap-technique”. As a means to create word play, Spoonerisms work by exchanging, or “swapping” initial sounds or syllables of words within a phrase. Some famous examples being “the Lord is a shoving leopard”, “can I sew you to another sheet?” and “go and shake a tower”.

Tops of the Sling

In spoken language, Spoonerisms are often begotten by accident or slips of the tongue. It may just so happen that initial consonants of words are mixed up and create humorous effects:

  • Dot hog (hotdog)
  • Pestmoan (postman)
  • Brick’n chest (chicken breast)
  • Porn a tart (tornapart)
  • Scat pan (patscan)
  • Casket base (basket case)

Allergic Grammar Sills

Though Spoonerisms are usually restricted to the mere interchange of the initial consonant sounds, e.g. candle with hare, they are in fact syllabic anagrams. It is not as important to stick to the given letters as it is to switch complete sound particles from the words.

  • Shade in minor (Made in China)
  • The turtle’s a swage (The world is a stage)
  • Joe’s a nut! (Just say no!)

There is a thin line however, that separates Spoonerisms from anagrams. It is therefore challenging to keep close to the original phrase and still try to invent something new:

  • Webcam attorney. Naked on shirt! (Vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred!)
  • Scam my pee, Abbot! (Beam me up, Scotty!)
  • Give cheese a pence! (Give peace a chance!)

Irate your Crone

If you want to create your own Spoonerisms, good inspiration is where you find it. Take worms or idiots that strike your attention.

  • To be as suave as hoses (To be as safe as houses)
  • At the tent of one’s ether (At the end of one’s tether)
  • Ragged to the boots (Back to the roots)
  • Swirls before pine (Pearls before swine)

Experiment with the tonal length of the vowels.

Even James Bond could get his bones jammed. Don’t free a bait to mess around with quidioms and oats.

Education is but the failing of a pill, not the fighting of a liar.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. (William Butler Yeats)


Spoonerized items of copula pulture (can you guess them?)

  • Fort of the Lice
  • Rat Ban & Mobbin’
  • Fake Breast Epiphany
  • Meal of Stan
  • Ringing in the Sane
  • Pastor of Muppets
  • War Stores
  • Paving Rye with Cyan
  • Carter’s Biz
  • Kittie’s Insane
  • Bone and the Canarian
  • Baking Bread
  • In the Need of the Height
  • The Little Cook of Balm
  • The Fax Isles
  • A Tame of Groans
  • O Cro-Magnon, why?
  • Flu in the Base
  • Lady Gator
  • I am the Wing of the Curled!
  • If you quilt it, he will bum.
  • The Lament of the Size
  • The Miffed Elephant

If you want the solutions look below.

Now it is time to fit thee bare well… Spooner-Style!

  • Rent my cigars (Send my regards)
  • Bake him away, toys! (Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons)
  • Live prong and lobster! (Live long, and prosper!)


Lord of the Flies / Batman & Robin / Breakfast at Tiffany’s / Man of Steel / Singin’ in the Rain / Master of Puppets / Star Wars / Saving Private Ryan / Spartacus / Citizen Kan / Conan the Barbarian / Breaking Bad / In the Heat of the Night / The Little Book of Calm / The X-Files / Game of Thrones / No Woman no cry / Blue in the Face / Gladiator / I am the king of the world / If you build it, he will come /The Silence of the Lambs / The Fifth Element

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image sources

  • Spoonerism: Thomas Münse (GNU - License)